A HISTORY of the ENFIELD FOOD SHELF, INC.
The 1960’s : The Beginning
The decade of the 1960’s included a Camelot presidency, three tragic assassinations, the Beatles, the antiwar and civil rights protests, and sweeping cultural changes. In the midst of these events, the Gospel challenge of “Feed Thy Neighbor” inspired an ecumenical movement which included thematic workshops attended by women, many of whom had been volunteering at social service agencies, hospitals, and schools.
At these workshops, the women shared their experiences about fathers leaving families and people facing hardships due to illnesses, accidents, and emergencies. As a result of these discussions, the women realized that town professionals – social workers, school administrators, nurses, and clergy – needed help. In response, the small group of Enfield Church women began to collect, purchase, and prepare “food for emergencies.” Knowing they could accomplish little alone, Peg Smith organized a group of Enfield Church women including Barbara Costas, Connie Lamond, Cindy Lockwood, and Pat Lombardo.
The women sought food donations through “3 cans make a meal” drives and expanded the effort to include local churches, businesses, and civic organizations. Their objectives were to support the efforts of the local churches and social agencies and to relieve financial burdens. Local clergy, school officials, police, and the Neighborhood Center referred families needing help to the group. The Enfield Church Women’s Group served as the Board of Directors, and Peg Smith chaired the effort. The women stored the food on shelves in their homes, and this practice became the source for the name of the organization, “The Enfield Emergency Food Shelf.” Food was delivered to five families.
The 1970’s : The Development
Fueled by the closing of factories, the energy crisis, and the economic decline, the 1970’s revealed an increase for food assistance. The Enfield Conference of Christian Churches accepted sponsorship for the Enfield Emergency Food Shelf. A letter certifying the need for food became a requirement to receive groceries 2-3 times per month. When a request for assistance was received, a box of food was delivered. Initially, families, mostly women and children who had been abandoned by their husbands, received food.
With a meager balance in its checking account ($ .22 at one point) and an increased demand for storage, the group conducted a successful donation drive and stored food in their homes. As the food arrived, women sorted and packed meals for a day in bags or for a week in boxes. Food for children – peanut butter, jelly, cereal – was an emphasis. Fresh items such as milk, eggs, bread, margarine, and meat were purchased on the day of delivery, and suggestions for recipes were included. As the need for food storage increased, the women improvised creative methods for storing the items. Cindy Lockwood placed food items beneath her bed. Pat Lombardo and others erected shelves next to the washer and dryer and, thus, they organized the donations and prepared orders in boxes while doing laundry. In 1974, Bernie and Frank Rossano renovated an area in their home with shelves for storage.
To raise funds, Judy Sullivan’s turkey holiday coffee cans were seen everywhere at Thanksgiving and Christmas. As requests for assistance increased, more volunteers joined the effort and included Hazel DeBell, Bette Cooper, Dot Henry, and Pat Linehan. The women implemented a color chart idea for food drives – January snow for white items, February Valentines for red items, March Irish for green items, etc. In an allied ecumenical effort, Ed Misciewicz of St. Bernard’s parish collected appliances and furniture and made these available to those in need. At the same time, Dorothy Allen, Director of Enfield Social Services, began to coordinate the network of volunteer services, and, in subsequent years, these became town services such as Child Day Care, the Senior Center, and Dial-a-Ride. In 1978, Joan Carrara, Sister Edwina, and Judy Sullivan arranged for St. Patrick’s Church to provide space in its basement for the Emergency Food Shelf operation. The Food Shelf effort continued with donations being stored in homes throughout Enfield as 15-20 families requested food assistance.
The 1980’s : The Challenges
The influences of this decade included increased tensions in the Middle East, Reaganomics, rapid advances in technology and communications, and the personal computer. During 1981, Peg Linn began the practice of creating Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets, and she coordinated deliveries with the Neighborhood Center. For various reasons, the number of volunteers dwindled, and the operation almost ended in 1983. Almost single-handedly, Peg and Bob Linn kept the effort alive for many years.
In 1988, Gerry Wilson (with his pickup truck) responded to an appeal for help, and he assisted the Linns. A group of dedicated women interviewed clients and recorded weekly information about food distribution. In 1989, a roomful of people answered a call for volunteers, and this energetic group included Bob Lewis, Pete Clement and others. They gave new life to the effort. In addition to Thanksgiving and Christmas, volunteers prepared special Easter baskets for clients. Food Shelf volunteer representatives worked with the Enfield Social Services Department to develop eligibility standards in order to refer and screen the needy. Volunteers participated in the town’s 4th of July parade and collected food donations during the celebrations. At the end of this decade, the demand for assistance had increased dramatically with 346 families seeking food.
The 1990’s : The Incorporation
Investment scandals, out-sourcing, and energy concerns affected the national economy and created difficulty for families to make a living wage. In 1990, Bob Lewis and Gerry Wilson led the effort for incorporation and received approval as a nonprofit agency to be known officially as “Enfield Food Shelf, Incorporated.” Gerry and Bob wrote the by-laws which created a 12 member Board of Directors and included the President, the Vice-President, the Secretary, and the Treasurer. The Board of Directors governed the activities.
As an incorporated nonprofit agency, the Food Shelf filed reports with the Internal Revenue Services, the State of Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Affairs and Tax Department, and the Town of Enfield. Volunteer interviewers applied Federal and State poverty guidelines to determine eligibility for qualification. Outgrowing its space at St. Patrick’s because the need for food assistance continued to increase, the Food Shelf received approval from the Enfield Town Council to rent space in the former A. D. Higgins School. In 1995, The National Association of Letter Carriers conducted its first annual drive to benefit the Food Shelf and collected 8,000 pounds of food (This collection drive continues).
In 1997, parishioners from the United Methodist Church built a miniature row boat to be utilized in food donation drives. Karen and Peter Oakes assumed responsibility for the “Fill the Boat” drives and transported it to various sites for food donations. The Food Shelf began its annual participation in the Feinstein Challenge. 423 clients received food during the year.
The 2000’s : Expansion and Challenge
Terrorism, conflict in Iraq, and natural disasters marked the beginning of this decade. In 2002, with the help of local Boy Scouts, John Bridge and Peter Oakes dismantled the Higgins shelves, moved these to Alden Avenue, and prepared the facility for operation. The Food Shelf moved its operation to 96 Alden Avenue and began renting this building in 2003. Linda Bridge assumed the responsibilities of the presidency. The requests for food assistance increased, and additional volunteers assisted with the preparation and distribution of bags of food.
In 2004, Kathy and Nick Vamvilis, owners of Maine Fish Market, sponsored a golf tournament and donated $11,000 to the Food Shelf. The annual National Association of Letter Carriers’ food drive donated 25,000+ pounds of food. The Town of Enfield awarded a grant of $18,200 to the Food Shelf. Volunteers distributed information and accepted donations at a booth during the town’s 4th of July celebration. Representatives from the Husky insurance program and the Food Stamp program distributed information and counseled clients. Foodshare began a mobile food distribution program and sent a truck to St. Patrick’s parking lot for 45 minutes on alternate Fridays of each month. The Food Shelf distributed 238 Thanksgiving baskets and 227 Christmas baskets. The Town of Enfield awarded a grant of $19,200 to the Food Shelf.
In 2005, Enrico Fermi High School students, led by April Frizzell ‘06, redecorated the main room of the Alden Avenue facility. The Food Shelf participated in the annual Feinstein Challenge (which has become a primary source for financial support). Kathy and Nick Vamvilis, owners of Maine Fish Market, sponsored another charity golf tournament. Representatives from the town’s Social Services Department distributed information to the interested clients. The National Association of Letter Carriers conducted its annual food drive. Volunteers distributed information and accepted donations at a booth during the town’s 4th of July celebration. The Food Shelf distributed 314 Thanksgiving and 300 Christmas baskets and assisted 635 clients (895 adults, 739 children).
In 2006, a local business with the Enfield Rotary Club donated 3 freezers. Ocean State Job Lot and Stop & Shop sponsored holiday donation drives. A booklet about the history was Food Shelf was presented at the Volunteer Appreciation banquet, and 6 founders were honored with individual proclamations presented by Cindy Mangini, Town Councilwoman. Senator John Kissell and Town Councilman Ken Hillinski thanked the volunteers for their incredible efforts. Mayor Tallarita read and presented a proclamation about “Fight Hunger Week” to President Linda Bridge. Kathy and Nick Vamvilis, co-owners of Maine Fish Market sponsored their 3rd benefit golf tournament and raised $7,000 for us. The annual National Association of Letter Carriers’ Drive produced 29,000 lbs. (14.5 tons) of food donations. The Town of Enfield awarded a grant of $19,400. The annual Feinstein Challenge raised $40,000. Representatives from the Food Stamp program and the Network against Domestic Abuse made information available during Wednesday food pick-up. An air-conditioning system was installed to assure climate control in order to protect the foods. Members of the Board of Directors held several meeting with Judy Cowan, a consultant for the Hartford Foundation for Giving, in preparation for potential grant applications. The members reviewed Ms. Cowan’s assessment and utilized the data to establish priorities for action plans. 315 Thanksgiving dinner baskets including a turkey and special dinner items and 315 Christmas baskets were distributed. Volunteers from St. Adalbert’s parish and a local Girl Scout troop prepared special birthday bags and boxes throughout the year. Volunteers from the local schools and churches continued to assist with the collection, stocking, and distribution of foods. Enfield residents donated 90,300 lbs. (16+ tons) of food during the year. The Food Shelf purchased 270,500 lbs. (55+ tons) of food for distribution. An average of 225 clients (775 people – adults and children) received food each week.
2007 was a year of change and challenge. The Board of Directors created the position of Executive Director and hired Linda Bridge. The Board elected Roger LeBlanc as President. Sharon Arcouette, Jim Flynn, Bob Linehan, Ray Montagna, and Linda Sokolowski retired from the Board after many years of dedicated service. The Board elected new members Julie Cotnoir, Joe Fallon, and Lindsey Weber. Four clients were accepted as Board advisors. The Board accepted a revised version of the by-laws, approved at the annual meeting of volunteers. The community continued its generous support. The annual Feinstein Challenge raised $42,365. Kathy and Nick Vamvilis sponsored the 4th Maine Fish Market benefit golf tournament and donated $7,000. Jeff and Mike Dynia’s 16th “Spring Splash” collected food and $278. Maryann Abar and Linda Bridge served as chairpersons for a Chili Cook-off, organized by Kathy and Mike Freedman, and the event raised $5,000. The National Association of Letter Carriers’ Food Drive collected 12.5 tons of food. Throughout the summer, the Community garden provided vegetables. Local churches and schools collected more than 16,000 pounds of food for Thanksgiving. The Enfield Rotary Club donated $5,000. The Food Shelf presented its first “Very Important People” Award to the citizens of Enfield. The client advisors created, administered, and tallied a survey of clients. State Representative Karen Jarmoc and Town Councilwoman Cindy Mangini met with clients to listen to their concerns. Also, Wellcare, Allied Community Services, Network against Domestic Abuse, and the Healthcare Center provided information. Local Boy and Girl Scout troops prepared Thanksgiving and Christmas bags. 385 families received Thanksgiving baskets, and 325 families were given Christmas baskets. Bill Guzie donated and delivered 40 Christmas trees, and Grower’s Direct of Somers, CT provided 300 free poinsettias. Throughout the year, Kim Babcock recorded food donations and wrote notes of appreciation, and Dick Fournier processed financial donations and sent thank-you notes to donors. Increasing numbers of families needing assistance and decreasing food availability from Foodshare posed the greatest challenges; however, the continued generosity of the community helped to meet these challenges. Volunteers prepared and distributed 21,745 bags, equivalent to 301,430 pounds / 150.7 tons of food. An average of 216 families (571 people-adults and children) per week received food assistance, and 646 families are registered to receive assistance.
Presidential campaigning, economic concerns, and an historic election permeated our society in 2008. The effects of the slumping economy increased the need for food assistance. 426 new families registered for services; however, with the contributions of many individuals, groups, and the incredible generosity of the Enfield volunteers and community, we met the increasing challenges successfully. State Representative Karen Jarmoc provided assistance to our agency. With Representative Jarmoc’s support we received a grant valued at $7445 from the North Central Hartford County United Way. These dollars were used to purchase computers and to establish internet capabilities. Our agency contracted Gary Tallis (Network Engineering Services, Enfield, CT) to install and network four computers and two printers at a generous discount. Our agency contracted Matt McEwen (Developmental Marketing, Casselberry, FL) to develop our web site – www.enfieldfoodsheld.org at a reduced rate. Little John’s Sign Factory (Enfield, CT) created, donated, and installed a new sign for our facility. Alan Lanouette (Kariden Electric, Somers, CT) replaced a circuit breaker, repaired electrical outlets and lights, and installed motion sensor lighting, also at a reduced rate. In collaboration with Carl Tallarita, we created an alliance with the Hallmark Corporation, through which employees performed volunteer services for us. The Enfield Reds, an Enfield Little League baseball team, adopted our agency. Team members and their parents assisted as volunteers throughout the summer months. Growers Direct (Somers, CT) donated 300 mums to our families in October. Thousands of Enfield residents donated food and money to assist us throughout the year. Agency fundraising activities achieved outstanding results: Feinstein Challenge – $60,000; Kathy and Nick Vamvilis’ 5th Maine Fish Market Golf Tournament – $6,000; Kathy and Mike Freedman’s 2nd New England Regional Chili Cookoff – $11,000; “Give Thanks with a Turkey” – $49,129; and Stop & Shop (Enfield, CT) Holiday Drive – $3000. Additionally, major food drives collected thousands of pounds of food: The National Association of Letter Carriers’ Food Drive – 25,000 lbs. (12.5 tons); “Give Thanks with a Turkey” – 1080 turkeys and 15,000 lbs. (27.9 lbs. / 13.9 tons). We recognized several individuals and groups, who designed activities to benefit our agency, with “VIP Awards” (Very Important People): The Vamvilis Family for golf tournaments; Kathy and Michael Freedman for the New England
Regional Chili Cookoff; The National Association of Letter Carriers-Enfield, CT for food drives; the Enfield Rotary Club and Holy Trinity Parish (Enfield, CT) for continued efforts in our behalf. Sadly, we lost our beloved Linda Caplette, Client Manager and Board member, after a courageous battle with cancer. Our volunteers unloaded, stocked, prepared, and distributed 439,614 pounds (219.8 tons) of food with a total value of $575,894. Our caring community assisted an average 300 families per week and contributed tirelessly “to assure that no Enfield family goes hungry due to a lack of resources.”
2009 featured the collapse of Wall Street, H1N1, the meltdown of the housing market, an increase in unemployment, a stimulus package, heated debate about healthcare reform, and the beginning of an historic Presidency. For us, the community rose to the challenge of need, many individuals and groups provided assistance and information. Also, we instituted the family shopping model and expanded hours. Stop & Shop’s “Food for Friends” contributed $2995. The Henry Barnard School “Coin War” ended with a $1000 donation. The children of Holy Trinity Church collected and donated “Tons of Pennies.” Jeff and Mike Dynia sponsored the 15th “Scantic Valley Splash” for our benefit. Bob Fredericks received support from his employer, Hamilton-Sundstrand, and he received a donation of $2375 and hundreds of “green bags.” The local Girl Scout and Brownie Troops bolstered the “green bag” drive with hundreds more. The “Leo Club” of Enrico Fermi High School created Easter baskets for our families. The annual Feinstein Challenge realized an incredible $89,000 in cash and food donations. The National Association of Postal Carriers collected 22,000 lbs. (11 tons) in their annual food drive. The New England Regional Chili Cook-off raised thousands of dollars. Asnuntuck Community College’s “4th Annual Community Action Day” collected and donated hundreds of diapers, wipes, formula, and baby food. The Vamvilis family sponsored its 4th Maine Fish Market Golf Tournament and contributed $7000. Brendan Albetski organized “Rock for Food 2” and donated $1000. Rich Tkacz, owner Rich’s Oil, conducted a summer drive that collected 412lbs. of food and $540. Bernadette and Mark Johnson and Allied Community Services sponsored “Haunted Houses.” In response to Governor Rell’s call for “A Day of Caring,” Ed Richards, Chief Marshall of the Enfield Fire Department, organized a departmental drive involving all of the fire districts. The community – residents, businesses, corporations, civic organizations, public and parochial schools, and church groups – responded overwhelmingly to “Give Thanks with a Turkey II” with donations of 1098 turkeys and thousands in cash and food items. For Christmas, the community assisted with shopping and provided holiday cheer with special treats and gifts baskets.
To supplement the cash and food donation projects, many groups assisted with the remodeling and cleaning of the facility. C&S Wholesale employees participated in their “Make a Difference Day” cleaning the facility and sorting foods. Hallmark employees volunteered throughout the summer to prepare the shelves for the new family shopping model. The Enfield Reds players and parents assisted with the summer distribution of food to our families. The United Way employees of The Hartford painted the front room as their “Day of Caring” project. In September, we began the family shopping model.
Throughout the year, various organizations offered advice and assistance to our families during shopping hours. Peter Kenney offered guidance about acquiring employment through his “Job Seekers” program and invited interested individuals to attend his job search group. CT WORKS representative Ken Sales distributed information about potential employment opportunities. Evelyn Soto, Community Healthcare representative, shared details about the assistance available at the center on North Main Street. Kathy Plourde, RN, BSN – Community Liaison for VNA Healthcare – distributed pill boxes and gave advice about health issues. Representatives of Network Against Domestic Abuse shared information about assistance. Representatives for “The Witness Project” (CT Department of Health) made information available about breast cancer and screening. Volunteers from Foodshare under the supervision of Krista Ostaszewski, Volunteer Coordinator, visited each month to process applications for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Posters and flyers about assistance programs available at Enfield Social Services were made available to families.
We dedicated the main room of our facility to Marilyn Rush, a career and loved Enfield teacher, who bequeathed a generous donation to our program. We gave VIP Awards (Very Important People) to Bob D’Alessandro, Alan Lanouette, Mark Pallatino, and Carl Tallarita for their extraordinary contributions and efforts on our behalf. Sadly, we lost Bill Baille and Sandy Broderick, two of our longtime, loyal, and beloved volunteers.
This year, an average of 304 families shopped for food each week. We distributed 336,169 lbs. (168 tons) of food.
2010 was a year of challenge – politically, economically, and atmospherically. Major changes occurred in the balance of power in the Congress and throughout the country; the economy began a sluggish recovery; and weather patterns frustrated people everywhere. At the Food Shelf, numbers continued to increase; however, all sectors of the community responded with astonishing generosity and volunteerism. We engaged and hosted many new partners in order to provide helpful information about many topics to our families.
Local and area school and college students and youth groups volunteered, conducted food drives, and implemented fundraising projects. Fermi High School’s FBLA Club volunteered during the year; and Enfield High School’s DECA Club raised $1000 at its “Powder Puff” football game. JFK Middle School faculty and students collected 63 turkeys. Henry Barnard School students raised $583 in a “Team Hare vs. Team Turtle” Challenge, and H. B. Stowe students had a “Penny Drive” which raised $250. The Nathan Hale P.T.O. held an ice cream social and raised $450. St. Martha and St. Bernard students held food drives and delivered hundreds of pounds of donations. National Honor Society members from Enfield High and Fermi High volunteered and conducted food drives. A group of Fermi High School seniors created and supervised an indoor 3-hole mini-golf course for the Lunch Bunch 2010 kids. The Fermi High indoor track members and the Enfield High hockey team conducted neighborhood food drives. Suffield High School athletic team captains and Athletic Director Mike Bosworth assisted during the Thanksgiving food distribution days. South Windsor High School’s PEP club collected 2432 pounds of food during its holiday drive. The ECE at Asnuntuck Community College, chaired by Pam Phelan, raffled gift baskets and donated $450. Members of the Bay Path College Rotaract Club, advised by Dr. Cheryl Leary and sponsored by the Enfield Rotary Club, decorated the facility for the seasons and volunteered regularly. Students and professors in the UCONN SNAP Education program presented ideas about healthy eating and made recipes available to our families and during Lunch Bunch 2010. Members of the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Cub Scouts, and Brownie troops volunteered regularly and created gift baskets for special occasions. The Enfield Reds baseball team conducted food drives at local shopping centers and assisted during food distribution days.
Church parishes, businesses, Enfield Police and Fire departments, civic organizations, and individuals supported our mission most charitably. Hundreds of pounds of weekly food donations were received from the church parishes in our community. The parishes also conducted special collections throughout the year, and members of these congregations volunteered regularly. Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer parishioners distributed toiletries monthly, and Holy Trinity parishioners sponsored a “Furry Friends Ministry” which collected food for the pets of our families. St. Patrick parish made its hall available for Lunch Bunch 2010. The Knights of Columbus Council 14600 donated $332, and the Knights of Columbus Council 80 collected 271 turkeys in its “Turkey Challenge.” Local businesses and individuals also made valuable contributions. Clients at Allied Rehabilitation Services assisted at Lunch Bunch 2010 and volunteered weekly to sort foods, prepare stock, and clean. Tim Connelly, manger of the Olive Garden restaurant, treated Board members to lunch and made a $1000 donation. Rich Kozikowski, manager of Stop & Shop, and his employees conducted “Fill the Fire Truck” in collaboration with Enfield Fire Chief Edward Richards, which collected 1740 pounds of food. The store management and employees implemented a “Food for Friends” campaign, which raised $12,300. Also, the store encouraged customers to donate food items throughout the year. Emily Happy-Miller, Community Relations Director for Miller Family Markets/Shop Rite, and store employees volunteered during distribution days and sponsored a “Help Bag Hunger Day.” Gary Raffia of Raffia Auto Center implemented a “Cans for Kids” campaign and collected $5000. Kathy and Nick Vamvilis of Maine Fish Market sponsored their 7th annual charity golf tournament and raised $7000. Residents and staff of Blair Manor held a pancake breakfast, which raised $300. Jeff and Mike Dynia organized the 19th annual Scantic Valley Splash and filled a canoe with 450 pounds of food donations. The Enfield members of the National Association of Letter Carriers collected 22,000 pounds of food donations through its “Stamp Out Hunger” project. Recruits from Enfield’s United States Navy station assisted during food distribution days during the summer. Rockville Bank contributed $500 to sponsor “An Evening with Tom Chapin.” Harley Dressers Touring Association donated $500 raised during its annual ride for charity. Staff from Day Pitney LLP and employees from CS&G wholesalers cleaned our facility as a part of their United Way “Day of Caring.” Lindsey and Michael Weber of Minuteman Press donated $250 and assisted with the printing of our publications throughout the year. Howard Reeves, Reeves Transport Inc., paid the 7-week rental for a refrigerated trailer to store donated turkeys and hams. Stu Hosley sought donations to fill his personally handcrafted wooden piggy bank, matched the amount, and donated $3893. Gary Tallis of Network Engineering donated and installed 4 Intel Pentium hard drives and updated our computer system. Amy and Ira of “Skater City” held a “Food Drive Night” and collected 1530 pounds of food. Eppendorf, Inc. donated $1000 to our turkey drive. Employees of A. W. Hastings sponsored a holiday food drive and assisted during the Thanksgiving food distribution days. Hallmark’s United Way committee donated 200 pounds of food and $340. The staff of the Enfield Correctional Institution collected food donations and $500. Rich Tkacz, owner of Rich’s Oil, conducted his annual turkey drive, received 80 turkeys, and treated donors to a barbeque lunch. Weight Watchers sponsored a weight loss campaign, which collected 1271 pounds in food donations. The community responded to the 2010 Feinstein Challenge with 20,522 pounds of donated food items and $72,065 in monetary contributions. The Enfield Fire Department stations served as donation drop-off centers, and firefighters visited Lunch Bunch 2010 with their fire trucks. The Shaker Pines Fire Department sponsored “Terror in the Pines” to benefit our families. The Enfield EMS collaborated with Starbuck’s and conducted a 2-day drive, which collected hundreds of pounds of food and monetary donations. Police Chief Carl Sferrazza hosted Governor Rell to launch her “Day of Caring and Compassion” and arranged for police officer visits to Lunch Bunch 2010 to explain bike safety and to meet “Promise,” the police dog. Chief Sferrazza was also instrumental in having “Rocky,” the New Britain Rockcat mascot, meet the Lunch Bunch kids. Executives, Board members, and employees of the collaborating agencies supervised a reading of “One Grain of Rice,” prepared and directed by Ellen Phillips, head of children and teen services at the Enfield library for the Lunch Bunch kids. Throughout the year, we received supportive assistance and participation from State Representatives Karen Jarmoc and Kathy Tallarita, the Enfield Town Council and the Town Manager, the Board of Education, and the administrators, faculty, and staff of the public and parochial schools. We presented 2010 VIP (Very Important People) Awards to Mike Baudin, Norm LeBlanc, and St. Adalbert‘s Pastor Edmond O’Brien and his parishioners for their outstanding contributions, and we honored our volunteers at an appreciation banquet.
Civic organizations implemented a variety of projects, which raised funds and publicized the need for food assistance. The Tanguay-Magill American Legion Post 80 donated $1000, and the Enfield Lions Club contributed $500. The Enfield Women’s Club sponsored a “Birthday Bags and Pocketbook Auction” and donated $1540. Members of the Enfield Rotary Club volunteered weekly at Lunch Bunch 2010 and supported the program’s “Back Pack Day” with a $970 donation and backpacks. Additionally, the Rotary Club sponsored a charity golf tournament and donated an additional $7000.
We hosted various agencies throughout the year, served as the site host for Lunch Bunch 2010 and as representatives to the Mayor’s Advisory Council and the ECCC, established a “Community Partnership” with Bay Path College, and collaborated with Healthy ENFIELD. Many agencies visited during food distribution days to provide information about services beneficial for our families. The agencies included: Network against Domestic Abuse, Foodshare’s “Outreach” SNAP volunteers to process applications, Community Healthcare Center, Husky Insurance, Connecticut Works, “Job Seekers,” Operation Fuel, Neighborhood Services, and UCONN SNAP ED with Tina Fox Dugdale MS RD RN CD-N- Extension Instructor-Coordinated Program Dietetics. We assisted the United States Census Bureau with its “March to the Mailbox” campaign. In collaboration with Community Renewal Team, End Hunger CT!, Enfield Social Services, Foodshare, Inc., St. Patrick’s parish, United States Department of Agriculture, and United Way of Central and Northeastern CT, we served as the site host for Lunch Bunch 2010, a 9 week summer free lunch program for children 18 and under which served 1588 boxed lunches and presented special activities and educational programs at St. Patrick’s parish hall. We served as representatives to the “Mayor’s Advisory Council” and the Enfield Conference of Christian Churches. We established a “Community Partnership” with the Psychology Division of Bay Path College, chaired by Dr. Kathy Wiezbicki-Stevens. As a part of the partnership, student interns assisted with data collection, development of a volunteer handbook, grant searches, and health data collection. With the contributions from the community, we sponsored “A Concert to End Hunger and Thirst,” featuring Tom Chapin, 3 time Grammy-award winning singer and composer. We collaborated with Enfield Social Services to establish a fund for the Enfield fire victims and received $12,000 to assist the families. Finally, we are contributing to Healthy ENFIELD, an initiative to improve the health of the community through activity and improved eating habits.
An average of 373 families sought food assistance weekly during the year. We distributed 478,508 pounds (239.2 tons) of food including 1191 turkeys during the holiday seasons. We met the challenges posed throughout the year because all sectors of our community contributed and volunteered with remarkable charity and concern. Most importantly, our dedicated volunteers “made it happen” during our distribution days each week.
2011 was a year of contentious caucuses, a slowly improving economy, severe storms, and increasing challenges for us. However, as in past years, all sectors of the Enfield community and surrounding towns contributed with overwhelming generosity. Many organizations visited regularly throughout the year. Foodshare Outreach volunteers offered assistance and information and processed applications for services (food stamps) monthly. Likewise, volunteers from Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer visited and made toiletries and assorted items available to our families. Costco, Mike Baudin, Panera’s, ShopRite, Stop & Shop, Target and Carter Sutherland donated regularly. Employees and executives of ShopRite of Enfield assisted during distribution days regularly. Our “Community Partnership” with the Psychology Department of Bay Path College made it possible for its students to update our donation lists, create a brochure, administer and tabulate a client survey, conduct a study of potential food assistance programs, and plan and implement the Lunch Bunch 2011 project. The Bay Path College Rotaract Club, sponsored by the Enfield Rotary Club, created festive seasonal displays to greet our families throughout the year. As a part of their course work, UConn students studying dietetics and nutrition presented information about healthy eating and provided samples and recipes to our families during food shopping days. The response to the Feinstein Challenge raised $84,242 and 33,598 pounds of food. Mike Dynia conducted the 20th Spring Splash, which raised $500 and 550 pounds of food. The Parent Leadership Academy Class of 2011 sponsored a tag sale, which raised $520. The Student Council of JFK Middle School implemented a month long “Penny War” and raised $1594 to be shared by Loaves and Fishes, Little Sisters of the Poor, and us. In recognition for outstanding contributions and support for our mission, “VIP Awards” were presented to the parishioners and Pastor Michael Coons of the Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer, the Miller family and ShopRite of Enfield, Stop & Shop manager Richard Kozikowski, Attorney Joseph E. Fallon, Chief Edward Richards and the Enfield Fire Department, Chief of Police Carl Sferrazza and the Enfield Police Department, Jean Magnificent-Van Fossan, and Peter Reno. Nick Vamvilis of Maine Fish Market held the 8th annual benefit golf tournament and donated $7000. The annual National Association of Postal Carriers’ food drive collected 15,000 pounds. Members of Calvary Presbyterian Church collaborated with Enfield Social Services in a diaper drive, which produced 5000 donated diapers. Employees of American Eagle celebrated United Way’s “Day of Caring” by cleaning our facility, sorting and boxing foods, and stocking shelves. Andy Zander coordinated a “Zombie Walk,” raising $1000. For the 2nd year, our food bank served as the site host for Lunch Bunch 2011, a summer free lunch program for children 18 and under. In collaboration with Community Renewal Team, CT Department of Agriculture, CT Department of Education, End Hunger CT, Enfield Social Services, Foodshare, Inc., St. Patrick’s parish, United Way of Central and Northeastern CT, United Way of North Central CT, and the United States Department of Agriculture, the program provided 513 snacks, 2116 boxed lunches, games, crafts, and many educational and entertaining activities. At “Back Pack Day,” the final event, 375 backpacks filled with supplies were distributed. C&S Wholesale Grocers, Enfield Food Shelf, Inc. and United Way of North Central CT provided funding for the program. Supporting in-kind donations were received from Community Renewal Team, End Hunger CT, Enfield Rotary Club, businesses, and the general public. The “Rally against Hunger,” our 1st annual car show, was conducted on the town green with 180 cars participating. Rockville Bank, Trantolo & Trantolo, CT Custom Car, Tri-State Diesel, Shop-Rite, Porter & Chester, and Xotic Car Club sponsored the event. Organizers Norm LeBlanc, Kathleen Souvigney, and Walt Wosko raised $2999. American Eagle donated $4000 to purchase new freezers with attached refrigerators. CVS conducted a flu clinic and offered information about flu prevention. StepRite LLC met with families to share information about therapeutic shoes and assisted with ordering them. Just prior to launching our “Give Thanks with a Turkey” drive, Storm Alfred threatened our effort to provide turkeys and the trimmings for our families. On November 16, we had a mere 16 turkeys. In response, all sectors of the community reacted with bountiful charity. Howard Reeves, Reeves Transportation, donated the use of a Hale Trucking freezer trailer to store the turkeys. With his family and friends, Rich Tkacz, Rich’s Oil, hosted the 4th annual turkey drive and thanked donors with hot coffee, hot chocolate, and snacks. The Miller family and ShopRite of Enfield initiated an emergency donation campaign and received 160 turkeys. Paul Cunningham, Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus Council 50, challenged his members to surpass last year’s donations and pledged to shave his head if this was accomplished. 290 turkeys and $825 later, the Grand Knight’s locks were shaven. Children collected donations in neighborhoods. Businesses, civic organizations, church parishes, schools, and town government officials joined the effort. Hundreds of residents brought turkeys and monetary donations. We received 1252 turkeys, thousands of pounds donated foods, and overwhelming monetary donations. During the food distribution days prior to Thanksgiving, we provided holiday turkeys and meal items to 525 families with the assistance of hundreds of volunteers. As Christmas approached, we received an additional 100 turkeys and many special holiday items. St. Patrick’s Choir performed a special benefit concert to collect foods and donations. Rich Kozikowski, manager of Stop & Shop-Enfield, directed the store’s “Food for Friends” project, which raised $12,300. During the week of Christmas, 486 families received our food assistance amidst an atmosphere of holiday decorations and cheer. A yearly average of 400 families per week sought our assistance. We distributed 494,540 pounds of food, made information available to assist families achieve self-sufficiency, and gave emotional support as they faced their challenges. Our accomplishments reflect the outpouring of support from all sectors of our community. We made it happen! We made a difference!
20011-2012 BOARD of DIRECTORS:
Mayann Abar – Treasurer
Joel Cox – Social Services Liaison
Becky Daigle – Director
Lorna Hosley – Director
Bill Kweder – Director
Roger LeBlanc – Director
Cindy Mangini – Town Council Liaison
Rosalynn Santacroce – Director
Kathleen Souvigney – Secretary
A working mom supporting her disabled husband and son
A working mom supporting 5 children
A working mom supporting 2 children
A mom supporting a disabled child
A working woman
A working mom who supports 4 children
A disabled husband who, with his wife, supports 6 children
A working mom who, with her husband, supports a family of six
From its inception in 1968 to the present, the Enfield Food Shelf volunteers have collected, prepared, and distributed food to thousands of needy families. The generosity of Enfield’s citizens, businesses, civic organizations, churches, schools, and town agencies has contributed significantly to this effort. The dedicated Enfield church women accomplished their ecumenical goals, and the men who led the incorporation and the development of the Food Shelf continued the legacy of helping those in need. In 2006, Peg Smith, founder of the Food Shelf, wrote, “The Food Shelf was and is a combined effort of thousands of people working and donating, coordinating food drives, and helping in creative ways to feed the hungry,” and this ecumenical spirit continues to flourish because the people of Enfield continue to help their neighbors.
The leadership, the dedication, and the efforts of the following individuals contributed immeasurably to the founding, the development, the incorporation, and the expansion of the Food Shelf:
Theirs is a legacy of assuring that no Enfield resident will be without food.
NOTE: Hundreds of individuals have contributed to the mission of the Enfield Food Shelf since its opening. If some people have not been identified in this chronicle, the omission is unintentional.
Created by Roger C. LeBlanc, Secretary 3/20/2006 (Revised by Roger C. LeBlanc 2/1/2007; 2/4/2008; 3/11/2009, 3/7/10, 3/21/2010)
PAST BOARD of DIRECTORS:
Sue Angers Secretary
Sharon Arcouette Treasurer
Bill Bailie Client Manager
Cally Bell Secretary
Lou Bolduc Director
Jim Bozeman Secretary
Linda Bridge Executive Director 2003 – 2013
Linda Caplette Client Manager
David Cheney Director
Pete Clement Vice-President
Jim Coggins Director
Julie Cotnoir Director
Mike Delisa Director
Joe Fallon Director
Bob Fillmore Director
Jim Flynn Events & Publicity Manager
Dick Fournier Secretary
Jeff Foss Director
Linda Goguen Director
Mary Ellen Killeen Publicity, Director
Janet Krupa Client Manager
Tim Jensen Director
Raymond Langan Director
Bea Levasseur Secretary
Roger LeBlanc President, Secretary, Liaison to Lunch Bunch
Bob Lewis Vice-President
Bob Linehan Clients, Events, & Grants Manager
Peg Linn Assistant Treasurer
Ray Montagna Store Manager, Vice-President, Director
David O’Donnell Director
Kathy Plourde Director
Nick Rizzo Director
Sharon Rizzo Director
Don Sellers Director
Linda Sokolowski Social Services Liaison
Maggie Storey Treasurer
Mike Tippo Vice-President
Lindsey Weber Director
Gerry Wilson President 1966 – 2003